motherhoodMy every waking hour is consumed, at least in part, by my children.

I feed and nurture them.

I think about them constantly, even in the brief periods when I am not with them.

I try to teach them about love and kindness and generosity and bravery and confidence and compassion.

I try to make decisions that will be benefit them. I try to entertain them, to play with them, to make them laugh as well as learn. I do everything with them in mind, and put them before myself.

I will not be thanked for cleaning poo off the carpet this morning. I will not get any overtime for walking the floors with my sickly baby until midnight.

This is motherhood, and I am not alone. We are all children of mothers who have done the same.

For years to come, billions of mothers will continue to do the same again.

The fake listing for the #worldstoughestjob which went viral on the internet this week made motherhood sound like hell. It asked people to apply for a director of operations role, which was in fact the job of being a mother.

The hours were long, the work was unpaid, you needed a degree in psychology apparently; in some ways, it was an amusing prank. But it was also damaging.

I can’t work out what the joke advert was meant to achieve. It painted mothers as martyrs. It made us out to be super-human.

Well, here’s the thing. Motherhood isn’t some cult of amazing over-achievers. It’s just something that billions of us do every day. Dads do the same thing too – but that was ignored for the sickly sweet ad, which was spruiking Mother’s Day cards for the creator’s company.

Being a mum is not the toughest job in the world. It is not tougher than saving lives in an operating theatre each day. It is not tougher than cleaning out corporate sanitary bins every day and knowing you still can’t afford to pay for your father’s respite care.

It is not tougher than the jobs that people do every single day without thanks or praise or recognition.

Motherhood is hard, yes. It is exhausting and overwhelming and sometimes the responsibility of it all can feel like too much. But it isn’t a job. It isn’t measurable at performance reviews, and neither should it be. It isn’t something anyone does because they want a pay rise or an award.

Motherhood is about following your instincts, and spending your time and your thoughts with people you love no matter what. It isn’t about who is awake for the most hours or who solves the toddler’s tantrum quickest.

It is not the toughest job in the world, so let’s not pretend it is.

– © Fairfax NZ News

Kiran Chug is a freelance writer and mother of two. You can read more on her blog, Mummy Says, and follow her on Twitter.

Motherhood is not the toughest job